Books by Cathy Rentzenbrink

A Manual For Heartache (Picador, 2017)

When Cathy Rentzenbrink was still a teenager, her happy family was torn apart by an unthinkable tragedy. In A Manual for Heartache she describes how she learnt to live with grief and loss and find joy in the world again. She explores how to cope with life at its most difficult and overwhelming and how we can emerge from suffering forever changed, but filled with hope.

This is a moving, warm and uplifting book that offers solidarity and comfort to anyone going through a painful time, whatever it might be. It’s a book that will help to soothe an aching heart and assure its readers that they’re not alone.

  • Stylist Books June Summer Read

‘It comes from a place of bleakness, but turns into a tender appreciation of life’s beauty.’ Matt Haig, Observer


The Last Act of Love (Picador, 2015)

In the summer of 1990, Cathy Rentzenbrink’s brother Matty was knocked down by a car on the way home from a night out. It was two weeks before his GCSE results, which turned out to be the best in his school. Sitting by his unconscious body in hospital, holding his hand and watching his heartbeat on the monitors, Cathy and her parents desperately willed him to survive. They did not yet know the hard road that lay ahead, or that there are many and various fates worse than death.

In this beautiful and deeply moving memoir, Cathy describes the far-reaching consequences of the night that changed everything and, eight years later, led her family to make an unimaginable decision. As she delves into her memories, she reconnects with the bright, funny, adoring brother she lost and is finally able to see the end of his life as it really was – a last act of love.

  • Sunday Times Bestseller
  • Shortlisted for the Wellcome Book Prize
  • Waterstones Non-Fiction Book of the Month
  • Richard and Judy Book Club 2016

‘Honest, heartbreaking, uplifting account of family tragedy. Read it’ Jojo Moyes on Twitter

‘Rentzenbrink … emerges from this unflinching memoir with dignity, strength and an enormous heart. This is not an easy book, but it is a thoughtful, honest one, that brings deep rewards’ Lucy Atkins, The Sunday Times

‘beautiful and uplifting’ Henry Marsh, author of Do No Harm, in the New Statesman

‘richly rewarding’Sunday Mirror

‘Guilt, grief, anger, shame, love and hope are caught in this beautifully written book’ Robbie Millen, The Times

‘This is a book you would want to re-read during a tough time, to make you feel less alone… though the subject is heavy, the style isn’t.’ Matt Haig, Observer

About Cathy Rentzenbrink